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Organic bath saves paper from decay

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Organic bath saves paper from decay

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:02 pm

I thought that the bibliophiles among us would find this article from Nature's news service a light in a pretty compact darkness. Now all the boffins have to do is to find a means to prolong the life of the devices that we use to store our electronic messages so that it approach a fiftieth of what one can obtain with good old paper (the oldest existing printed work - Chinese, of course - dates from the 9th century)....

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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:03 am

While not printed per se, I thought the Rosetta Stone was considerably older . . . and as for the Dead Sea Scrolls . . .
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 13, 2005 4:09 am

Larry, the Rosetta Stone is, if I understand the matter aright, a piece of granite, and the Dead Sea Scrolls are written on parchment. While both these materials are stabile and long-lasting, neither represents a practical alternative for the storage of the quantities of information we use today. Paper, however - a nearly two-millennia-old Chinese invention - does represent a pratical alternative for documents that are to preserved for periods longer than twenty years or so. In any event, I thought the Nature article might just possibly be of interest for those of us who are fascinated by scribbles on old scraps of paper....

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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:07 am

two-millennia-old Chinese invention

Wouldn't two-millennium-old Chinese invention be more proper, since nouns used in adjective compouns remain singular, since they are adjectives, after all? Cf. a two-year-old baby.

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Postby tcward » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:11 pm

BD beat me to it. I was going to ask the same thing.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:15 pm

Have to ask 蔡伦 when I see him....

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Postby Stargzer » Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:43 am

M. Henri Day wrote:Larry, the Rosetta Stone . . . and the Dead Sea Scrolls . . . While both these materials are stabile and long-lasting, neither represents a practical alternative for the storage of the quantities of information we use today. Paper, however - a nearly two-millennia-old Chinese invention - does represent a pratical alternative for documents that are to preserved for periods longer than twenty years or so. . . .


With the volume of information we are deluged with, I'm not so sure paper is a viable solution, either. The cost of the paper is dwarfed by the cost of storage, indexing, and retrieval. One wrong move and it can all go up in smoke, especially so with the banning of Halon. Of course, magnetic media has its own problems.

Don't get me wrong; I prefer a book to a screen any day for novels and such, but for information that needs to be retrieved and shared, I don't think paper is viable in the long run.

. . .In any event, I thought the Nature article might just possibly be of interest for those of us who are fascinated by scribbles on old scraps of paper....

Henri


Alas, I have not a premium subscription to Nature . . . if it did have any details, it might have been interesting. I'd be curious how the method described differs from just using acid-free paper. Maybe in the local library one of these days . . .
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:54 am

Alas, I, too, am in want of a premium subscription to Nature, and can access only the free news service. But I don't think the point here is whether or no acid-free paper (and, not least, inks) should be used now, but rather how to preserve documents written by people who weren't so far-sighted (or maybe they didn't want us to read them, five hundred years on). As for the storage (and, let it be said, retrieval !) problems to which information on paper gives rise, having experience with hospital archives I am entirely in agreement with Larry. Where we may disagree is that I am not at all certain that the other solutions that have been proposed are so very much better. Perhaps more Rosetta stones ?...

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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 20, 2005 11:32 am

M. Henri Day wrote: . . . Perhaps more Rosetta stones ?...

Henri


Moving to stone would cause us to use our resources widely. :wink: I know I wouldn't want to be hefting them things around! :D
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